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erica travel mug free with your hoveround delivery. call or log onto right now! they were a big hit online, but then decided to open a brick and mortar store to take their business to the next level. how they saw clearly they needed to interact with customers. plus, he wants to rock 'n' roll all night and make money every day. rock star gene simmons on why you shouldn't listen to people to succeed in business. that's all coming up next on "your business." ♪
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small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we're proud to present "your business" on msnbc. hi there, everyone, i'm j.j. ramberg, and welcome to "your business," the show dedicated to giving you tips and advice to help your small business grow. it's been three years now since ecommerce brand launched and disrupted the brand of prescription eyewear one click at a time. why are retail stores now a part of their expansion plan? we head to their brand new flagship store in new york city to find out why this online business is also going offline.
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when classmates neil, andrew, and david launched warby parker in 2011, it shook up the world of prescription eyewear, selling well under the price of typical fashion prices and doing it all online. >> we said, what if we could create our own brand, work directly with manufacturers and sell them directly to consumers through a user-friendly website, we could offer the same glasses that normally cost $500, $600,but do so for $90. >> it took off. >> we were featured in "gq" and "vogue" and hit our sales targets in three weeks and sold out of our inventory and had a waiting list of 20,000 customers. >> and for two years, sold almost exclusively online. didn't have stores in the business plan. their goal was to change an industry through internet sales. what they soon learned surprised
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them. >> what we found was people wanted to shop and experience the brand in person. >> they're not alone. internet retailers across industries are finding that while the internet is great to start an idea, ultimately, there will always be consumers who want to do things the old-fashioned way. touch and feel them before putting down the plastic. ecommerce site opened in 2012 and men's apparel start up has six shops and at least two more in the works. other successful ecommerce sites have invested in pop-up stores in major cities. >> consumers are never going to do all their shopping online, not going to do it offline. the best brands really focused on offering the best possible customer experience are going to have a presence in both channels. >> problem is, opening a store takes money and planning. in the beginning, this was not the focus of warby parker. so they sort of did it on the
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fly. inviting people over to neil's apartment and laying frames out on the dining room table. today, things are much different. with a solid success story and funding behind them, warby parker has opened up two brick and mortar stores with more on the way. the crown jewel, their 2,000 square foot flagship store on one of the most coveted blocks in new york city. >> we thought having a flagship store would strengthen the brand, add gravitas to it. and it would also help us perhaps reach some customers that were reluctant to buy online. >> calling it just a store, though, does not do it justice. the two founders who are still running the company, neil and dave decided that if they were going to move into brick and mortar, they were going to do it in their own style. that's meant throwing some of the traditional thoughts of retail out the window. warby parker's short but vibrant history is front and center and
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coveted shelf space is given to showcase books from independent publishers. >> they walk in here and are like, neil, you're crazy, you're wasting all this selling space. and we don't look at it on a square foot basis like that. sort of what is it the experience we want somebody to have? and if we can have retail be a form of entertainment. if we can build community through this store, we think we're going to sell more and more glasses. >> a photo booth to share different looks with your friends, glasses out in the open instead of behind locked glass cases and a tablet checkout system instead of a traditional register set-up are some of the ways their physical store helps fans interact with the brand in ways they can't online. the stores have also helped the ecommerce site reach a whole new customer base of shoppers reluctant to buy glasses on the internet. >> we're finding that once people buy their first pair of glasses from one of our stores or showrooms, a second, third,
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fourth time they're doing so online. once we've established that trust. once people are familiar with the experience, they're much more likely to repurchase online. >> interacting with people at the stores also means they have a better pulse on what the customer wants. >> at times online we're just looking at sales data to help influence design, but it's less forward thinking and more back ward thinking whereas here we'll see people come in and maybe they're looking for a cat eye, for example, or a particular color we've been hesitant to put out there. that gives us confidence to say, hey, we can push the envelope a little more. >> would this have been successful if you started in a store and skipped the online part or launched them simultaneously? >> that's a good question. we would have had to do a really big launch to have lines out the door and over 4,000 people each weekend for it to have worked as it has now.
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i think launching online allowed us to get a large following much faster than if we had had bricks and mortar because you're limited by geography. >> so far, the stores have been a big success exceeding all of their expectations. >> is demand what you expected? or more? >> it's about double what we expected. >> why? >> we're hiring if you're looking. ♪ that was a really interesting piece to do particularly because those warby parker founders are truly forward thinking. how can you apply some of their learnings to your business? let's turn to this week's board of directors. and jay goltz is the ceo of the goltz group. great to see both of you.
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>> great to be here. >> chris, we were talking about how gorgeous that store is. they did a really nice job with that. >> it is. i got to visit it for the first time last weekend and it was beautiful, it was packed, it felt more like an apple store than an eyeglass store. and like an apple store, instead of a genius bar, they have an eye exam bar and you can get your eyes checked right there. >> i wanted to talk about two different topics, but the first is about retail in general and how they're rethinking the idea of retail. that it's not -- you're going into buy something. it is an experience. how important is that? >> well, i would have to say -- you would have to say apple really changed the current state of retail and what could be possible. and i think warby parker fits into that theme with their own brand and their own twist on it. >> with anyone with a brick and mortar retail store, do they need to be thinking of themselves as a destination as entertainment? >> there's no question that it's a powerful combination to have both retail and online.
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but i have to warn people, when you look at the apple store, there's one big difference, apple's not giving their products away. the prices at apple are certainly not discounted. they give great service, the products are great. but price, quality service, pick two out of the three. when you don't see the accounting for a company, it's very difficult to really analyze are they successful or busy? if you're looking into getting a store, it's not the cost of the rent, it's the rent, the employees, the health insurance, the management, there's a lot of buried costs that are the reason why mark-ups are what they are. >> it is interesting, though, in the piece we mentioned a bunch of other stores that have now -- they're testing, at least, brick and mortar stores, online retailers and we did a story a few months ago on a company called story. it's a retail space that has a lot of products from different companies in there. and an online retailer was one
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of the people -- one of the stores that was testing having products in a brick and mortar store. they wanted to see how customers reacted to their products. do you think, jay, to be really big, really successful, you need to have a brick and mortar presence? >> i think at the end of the day, you know, it started out we had retail stores and ecommerce, now most of the retail stores are doing ecommerce and have very sophisticated sites. and now they're figuring out to really compete, they probably will need in a lot of cases a brick and mortar store because a lot of the population still want to touch and feel and experience the product. and there's no question that the package of having great a website and a great store is going to be, i believe, who is going to be the leading retailers and competitors out there. >> it seems, chris, that warby parker did it right. they tested online without putting the big capital investment in the store. >> i think the bigger trend is online and offline are smashing together. the differences are blurring
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more and more. i think every offline retailer has to have some online presence, even if it's for marketing and outreach. not every online retailer should go offline, but i think some can. i think warby parker is the perfect example of one that built a brand out of nothing. you have to stop and pause. they've now sold 500,000 pairs of glasses and given away 500,000 in the buy one, give one to people in the third world country that need one. but they've built this brand up from nothing and figured out how to do enough online/offline to ship five frames to your home to try on for free in order to make a purchase decision. >> they built a big brand. >> built a brand first. >> proved they're successful. >> and now they've got enough momentum, people want to come in and see 100 different frames at once in a cool environment. >> it's a neat company, they've done a great job.
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stick around, we need you later in the show. >> sure. no matter how informative or entertaining your youtube video is, content alone will not guarantee you an audience of potential customers. smart marketing is key. so here now are five of the most successful tactics for promoting a new youtube video courtesy of >> one, promote on your company blog. talk up each video in its own post. two, tell your e-mail list. when you upload new content, send a message out. three, connect to social media. facebook lets you embed videos in your status updates and on pinterest, you can pin them to your pin boards. also, promote your videos on social bookmarking and news sites. four, do some old-fashioned public relations. issue a press release when you've uploaded a particularly important video. and, also, pick up your phone to
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give your industry's trade groups publications and blogs a heads up. and five, if you can afford it, advertise your videos on youtube. they're called true view ads and they'll appear on the youtube site targeting potential viewers and linking back to the selected video or your youtube channel page. >> want to extend the reach of your next small business event? then check our website out over the week. yapp helps you create and share your own apps. select from a set of themes and features to design a mobile experience for your guests. add map links, send photos and push notifications through your app. one of the worst things about working remotely, people around you can hear your phone calls and see your computer screen. in fact, often the worst privacy violations start with you. so here now with tips to make sure you safeguard your company's secrets when you're working while you're out and
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about is carol roth. now a cnbc contributor, carol is also a best-selling author. >> a long time friend, not an old friend, a long-time friend, j.j. >> a long time friend. this is so important. i find myself realizing, oh, i'm talking too loud. i don't want people to hear this. >> the coffee shop is the worst enemy of the entrepreneur. and think about the setting. it is so chill and relaxed. you and i might be having our discussion, but everyone else around is listening. and if you have any anyone like me who is incredibly nosey, they're listening and perhaps looking over your shoulder and at your notes. as an entrepreneur, you don't want to conduct any confidential meetings or have confidential information in a coffee shop, a hotel lobby. you want to look for places like co-working spaces, business lounges, places that offer flexible work space. and there's so many options that are really, really affordable that it may seem i can't afford
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to do that. that's why i'm going to the coffee shop. but you can find a good place. >> and what's a privacy aid? >> so privacy shields. this is perfect for people sitting next to me on an airplane or a train or -- because i am the nosiest person around. so i'm looking over. i had the guy from a car company next to me the other day. i know everything he's doing. >> you and i are the same. i cannot help it either. >> so they have these devices called privacy shields. it's a little piece of kind of plastic that you can get and put it on your laptop, on your tablet, on your smartphone, and that means only you can see it when you're looking in front of it. and you and i -- >> going like this. >> no one else can see it. it's a really good tool to protect your privacy, especially. we're all mobile, we're all out and about. >> and a shredder, which is not expensive at all, a shredder. >> no. you've got to take care of your documents, shred your documents.
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and the simple things like throwing away a presentation in your hotel room or at a coffee shop or a restaurant or as the guy did a couple weeks ago who left it in the seat pocket in front of me from a major pharmaceutical company that i now have in my possession. you have to guard your documents. and it's so easy to bring those back with you, take the time to put it through the shredder and make sure any confidential information goes away and isn't accessib accessible. >> i do this thing i take my documents if i don't have a shredder handy and put it in a million different pieces and walk around to different trash cans. >> i do too. >> we are the same person. elevators the same as coffee shops? >> well, it's even worse than an elevator because most of the people in the elevator with you know you and have the context of what's going on. it's in your office building. you may think you're being slick and using a coded word, they
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know what's going on if you mentioned that client we just talked to. well, they're in the same building, they can figure it out. and a lot of times you're coming from a meeting and engaged in a dialogue and carrying on that conversation and a lot of confidential information gets transferred that way. >> there are entire twitter streams dedicated to the gossip that comes from elevators. they've got gs elevator from goldman sachs and cnbc has a digital series where puppets reenact what was said in the elevator. so if you don't want puppets reenacting your confidential information, you should not say it in an elevator. >> and finally, code names. >> yes, so this comes back from my investment banking days where you had an important client you were working with. you come up with a koecode name. you can come up with it. you're kind of like a spy. if you're having conversations on your mobile phone out in the
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open, use the code name so that it's not clear who you're talking about. really, really simple thing that you can do to protect your privacy and your clients' privacy. >> you know what's great about these, carol, they're so easy to do. it takes being mindful. >> cheap and easy. >> great to see you. still to come, how do you mass produce your product and not give up on the quality? plus, how much is too much when it comes to what information you share on social media. and some heavy duty business advice from heavy metal icon from entrepreneur gene simmons in this week's learning from the pros. is like hammering. riding against the wind. uphill. every day. we make money on saddles and tubes.
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but not on bikes. my margins are thinner than these tires. anything that gives me some breathing room makes a difference. membership helps make the most of your cashflow. i'm nelson gutierrez of strictly bicycles and my money works as hard as i do. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. to his fans, gene simmons is best known as the flame spewing tongue-wagging for the legendary band kiss. he came to this country with a burning desire to succeed in entertainment and in business. a master marketer and entrepreneur, he recently opened the third location of his rocking brews restaurant franchise. we caught up with him at the opening and sat down in his home to talk about his business
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philosophies in this rocking edition of "learning from the pros." ♪ i wanna rock 'n' roll all night ♪ >> you can't do everything yourself. partnership is wonderful. partner up with people who know more than you do about things you don't know anything about. you can't know everything. it's difficult to kick the goal, the ball into the goal post by yourself. you need a good team. this whole idea that everybody's opinion is worth the same is patently untrue. there's qualified assessments and unqualified assessments. someone can wake up and say, your band sucks. that's fine, that's one. but i've got 10 million others who like it, like it enough to pay for it. so which do i listen to?
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you have a fiduciary duty to yourself to be educated, understand the big picture and understand the structure of capitalism. the cost of goods, i just have a passion. that means nothing. the most powerful and the most highly positioned people can have the same information i can have. and i wasn't born in america. when i came to america, a few blocks down was a library and it was free. and i could go in there and learn all the secrets of how to do anything and everything. it's your fault if you don't succeed. you cannot fail in america. never be the first one to do anything, you'll be the poorest guy in the room. don't be the first ground breaker. it won't happen. let somebody else do market research and create a marketplace for you and walk in and do it. you know, in business, it
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doesn't matter if it's expected or unexpected. this idea that something should be surprise, it's original. who cares? either it works or it doesn't. whether it's expected or unexpected, there's just success and failure. and everything else is just smoke and mirrors. who and what we are, our people skills, our language skills is the beginning and end in all of it. the resume is sort of follow-up. nobody reads anything. that's why headlines and newspapers were invented. figure out what your headline is right away. say it as succinctly as possible. whatever you sell is where you sell it. location, location, location, and you've got to have the right thing at the right time. ideas are worthless. ideas mean nothing. ideas are a dime a dozen. what means most is
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implementation. the ability to do something. and if you can actually make something work and if you understand the process, then you can fill in all kinds of things in there whether it's your ideas or not. my philosophy is america is the blessed place on earth to make a lot of money in. and i do. do good stuff, make a lot of money, never have enough. you know, life should be like space. endless. and give back. it's time now to answer some of your business questions. chris and jay are with us once again. this first one is about setting goals and achieving them. >> what are the four most important things a business owner should focus on if they're
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going to be their best and achieve their optimal results? >> jay, can you marnarrow it do to four? >> absolutely. the reason the failure rate for business is so high is there's three pieces, marketing, management and finance. most people are really good at one and pretty good at a second and throw up their hands on the third. you can't afford not to watch the numbers. the three i would say right off are marketing, understand who your customers are and how you're going to get to them. two would be management. understand how to hire, who to hire, how to manage and three, understand the finances, you have to have a budget and figure out how you're going to make money. and the fourth would be understanding the competitive environment and where your niche is. >> all right. anything to add to that, chris. >> probably say them differently. one is you have to hire great people, number two, don't run out of money.
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that's maybe some good advice. i think really focusing on the customer, obsessing on the customer, asking what problem are you solving for them is really good. and maybe a broader one i'd say, i see -- i'd suggest people look to let go of their fear of failure a little bit. it's always a chance of that happening. too often i see start-ups trying not to fail versus really playing to win and i'd recommend they try to do that. >> big risk, big reward. let's move on to the next question. it's about quality versus quantity. >> as a fashion retailer that specializes in handmade products, how do you prepare yourself for mass production for future use without losing the handmade quality? >> it's a good question, and should she be looking at mass production? >> yeah. that's where i would head with it. i think it's a hard thing to say how do you make handmade in mass production. i would think about what are you trying to solve for in the
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business? is it increased revenue and growth? and are there other ways to do that with higher end handmade products, better distribution, higher prices versus just trying to increase the quantity or lower your cost. >> right. jay, any ideas for her? >> yeah, i would say the key thing is you cannot be everything to everybody. if you're going to go high-end, handmade, you're going for the top part of the market, go for that mass market's another animal. there's somewhere in between, you need to figure out what's the best niche for you and what are you most capable of and who are your customers? because there are few companies in this world other than people who sell toothpaste or something that sell to the entire spectrum from price all the way up to the highest quality. you need to figure out what your unique selling proposition is. >> and you keep coming back to this idea of understand who your customer is and sell to them. it's about setting boundaries on social media.
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>> reporter: when it comes to social marketing and there's this real big push for facebook and twitter, can you be too personal? i think a lot of times we reveal information about our business and personal information about us. can that bite you in the butt down the line? >> i think, jay, the easy is answer to that is, yes, you can be too personal. where do you draw the line? >> it gets down to branding. i once went on someone's website. she had a salon and did a whole thing about her background and talked about how she used to be a fortune teller. and i don't know that's helping sell the services she's now selling. while it was honest and personal, i don't know it was going to help her mission of being a topnotch salon. >> there's so much talk about being authentic and being yourself, you could start to see a fuzzy line between what should i be revealing? >> a small business or a large one, you have hundreds of thousands more fans, followers,
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what do you say to them? how do you find your voice? and you have to find the right balance because sometimes people can be too personal talking about a fortune teller, sometimes completely self-promotional. buy this, buy this, buy this. and you have to find the right balance between these two. and i think a good way is to focus on what is your audience talking about and the ways you can start to engage and build a conversation with them. >> chris, jay, really appreciate you guys giving advice on these. >> thank you. thanks so much for joining me today. i hope you learned a thing or two. if you missed anything, just click on our website. it's you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. you can also follow us on
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twitter@msnbcyourbiz. small businesses can compete on price. >> everybody in the industry always talks about service, service, service. but really the underlying theme for most consumers is really pricing. >> we'll tell you how the owner of a hardware store keeps his prices competitive and is turning a profit while being independently owned. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg, and remember, we make your business our business. ♪ i'm a hard, hard worker every day. ♪ ♪ i'm a hard, hard worker and i'm working every day. ♪ ♪ i'm a hard, hard worker and i'm saving all my pay. ♪ small businesses get up earlier and stay later. and to help all that hard work pay off, membership brings out millions of us on small business saturday and every day
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Your Business
MSNBC July 20, 2013 2:30am-3:01am PDT

News/Business. A focus on issues facing small business in the United States.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Warby Parker 8, America 4, Us 3, Jay 3, Carol 2, J.j. Ramberg 2, Gene Simmons 2, New York 1, Pinterest 1, Yapp 1, City 1, Apple 1, Offline 1, Vogue 1, Cnbc 1, You 1, Smartphone 1, Jay Goltz 1, Goldman Sachs 1, Nelson Gutierrez 1
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